Is it worth memorizing Sentence Correction idioms? + General SC study advice.
It may feel tough now but Sentence Correction (SC) is arguably the most learnable part of the GMAT verbal section.
SC relies the least on your basic reading skills, which can be very challenging to improve in a short period of time, and there is a basic set of rules on on which most of the questions are based.
Because I see a ton of idioms posts on reddit (see above), today we’re going to take a look at Sentence Correction idioms and whether it is worth spending time studying them.
Are idioms important on SC? Do I need to memorize them?
Are idioms important? In a way they are essential in that if you know zero idioms then you will struggle mightily on GMAT SC (and communicating in general). You are using idioms all of the time.
Maybe the better question is: do I need to know specific idioms in order to do well on the GMAT?
That’s a bit murkier but generally: no. You don’t need to learn GMAT idioms to do well on sentence correction.
There are very few GMAT questions that soley rely on Idiom rules
That’s right. I know it may feel that GMAT is constantly nailing you impossible idioms but the reality is that you just don’t see that many questions on which you NEED to know a fancy idiom in order to get the question right. It happens. But again, it’s not common.
Is there any value in studying GMAT idioms?
GMAT idiom studying isn’t high value. Should you completely ignore idioms?
You probably could but I think it is still worth doing some light active idiom studying. Active? Yes. Avoid just rote memorizing random GMAT idiom lists. I think that is a waste of time. But here are two things you can do:
- While studying official GMAT questions make note and keep a list of idioms that you don’t know. Write the idiom and a sentence example. DO NOT ADD IDIOMS FROM THIRD PARTY QUESTIONS! In fact, avoid third party party verbal questions entirely. They range from not helping to hurting your verbal progress.
- Read correct sentence questions at least twice. Why? this will help you engrain correct GMAT sentence structure that, more than likely, you will see again. Because…
GMAT Sentence Correction is Based on a Small Set of Rules and Patterns Repeat
GMAT SC is a patterns game. And the better you get at recognizing SC patterns the easier time you will have knocking out SC questions.
As a bonus, here are the main SC issues that you need to know backwards and forwards:
- Parallelism (Comparisons, Lists)
- Agreement (Verb, Pronoun)
Yes, tense logic is a close 4th. Redundancy comes up. Concision is somewhere there. Oh yeah. Idioms…
But if you get amazing at identifying and fixing parallelism, modifier, and agreement issues you will get 80-90% on the vast majority of sentence correction questions.
How can I get amazing at identifying and fixing parallelism, modifier, and agreement issues?
Work through every single official GMAT sentence correction question and find every single mistake in every answer choice. Keep an excel sheet of every question and all of the mistakes you doing. Put a note on questions that you are not 100% settled on and go back to those on weekly basis.
First you should push yourself to come up with as many of the issues as you can. Really dig in.
Then, once you’ve exhausted yourself use GMAT Club, Beat the GMAT, and GMAT reddit to help. BUT be careful!
There are a ton of terrible sentence correction explanations
Some of them are outright incorrect but the majority, while technically OK, are just plain confusing. Most GMAT “experts” make things way more complicated than they need be.
The explanations tend to be WAY too specific so that it becomes hard to create a general framework that you can apply to multiple questions.
Does that mean that forum SC explanations are worthless? Some are. But there are good ones. You just have to dig around until you find the explanation that makes sense to you.
GMAT sentence corrections is very learnable. And if you approach studying SC in an organized and thoughtful way you should be able to make really meaningful gains that not only improve your verbal score but also improve your writing.
A structured and nuanced approach to learning Sentence Correction
At Atlantic we have a structured and nuanced approach to sentence correction that has helped our clients ring in stellar verbal scores. That doesn’t mean that our system will make you an expert overnight or that it’s easy but we can certainly add a meaningful competitive advantage and make your studying much more efficient.
If you are interested in hearing more about our GMAT tutoring program go ahead and reach using our GMAT consultations form and provide as much detail as possible regarding your studying so far and your goals. We’ll get back with an in depth plan along with an estimate of hours.
I hope this post was helpful and provided a study framework for Sentence Correction. We’ll be adding more on the subject in the future. Feel free to comment if you have any questions about Sentence Correction idioms or the study process outlined above.
Good luck with your GMAT. Happy studies!